Meet Leo Shin


Last Friday I stopped by the cigar shop after work for a smoke. I didn’t have my lovely girlfriend tugging at my time (love you sweetie) so I figured I’d chillout for a bit. The gang was all there and in walked Mr. Leo Shin. After we were all lit and engaged in our usual banter, this well dressed chap said something that I found shockingly odd… his father NEVER wore jeans in his life. Then I overheard him talking about fragrance…well, that did it for me.

I overheard you speaking about your father and his penchant for flair. Tell me a bit about his dressing habits? My dad was a very well dressed man. All the time. There was not a moment that he was not dressed up. His casual clothing was what most people would wear when they get dressed up to go out to dinner or

Is it true he never owned a pair of jeans? Never ever owned a pair of jeans. Never wore a pair of jeans. In fact, the only pair of sneakers he ever owned or wore, were a pair of black and white Nikes that I purchased for him when he was about 68
years old and needed to start cardiac rehab after heart problems.

Was he a lover of fragrances? If so, do you remember what he wore? He was a lover of fragrances, but I don’t remember if he ever had a quote unquote favorite. I remember the classic green Polo bottle being on his dresser growing up and a very old bottle of Pierre Cardin with a domed cap being around his entire life. In fact, he had
the after shave that came in an identical shaped bottle. They were always next to each other in the bathroom cabinet. Never saw him apply it, though.

How do you think all of this has influenced you? I think it influenced me in that I grew up around well dressed people from the very beginning. My mom, my two older sisters and my father were always well dressed, so I grew up feeling well-dressed was the norm, the absolute baseline one started from. It also instilled a
feeling that it was “okay” to be dressed up.

What is your favorite fragrance(s)? I never had a favorite fragrance until I my father passed away. My wife and I had selected a Dunhill scent for him as a gift and he wore it often. After he passed, there was still some left in the bottle, so I started wearing it and my wife loved how it smelled on me. So it is now the only fragrance I wear on a regular basis. It reminds me of my father every time I put it on and my wife loves it. The wife loving it is an absolute requirement and my father’s memory makes it significant to me.

How often do you buy a new fragrance? I’m always on the journey to find a fragrance that blows me away. Never really happens, though.

When you’re on the hunt, what do you look for? I look for a combination of woodsy, leathery, maybe tobacco, with an overriding sense of refreshment and cleanliness that comes with citrus notes. It’s a difficult thing to find because philosophically, I’m looking for something substantial, but light.

How would you finish this statement, my most memorable fragrant
moment would be…?
I think acquiring the fragrance I gave to my father and was the last thing he wore is the most memorable moment. However, on a lighter
note, my most memorable fragrant moment happens every time I’m walking down the street and some lady walks by and smells wonderful. They have usually just passed before you realize what just happened, so you never really can put the fragrance and the person together.

Thanks Leo.


One response to “Meet Leo Shin

  1. Amanda Englund


    Just checked out your blog. You’re an entertaining writer and your angle on a pretty untapped topic is thought provoking. Before reading your posts I hadn’t ever given much thought to fragrance – other than the fact that I’ve HAD to wear a new perfume almost every phase of my life since JR high. Didn’t realize until now how much it’s been a part of me and my life. Almost as how photographs capture moments, fragrance capture the actual emotion felt during that moment. That first kiss, that last kiss, etc. Each fragrance defines who I was (or was trying to be) at that age. Though it’s a rather perfunctory act, it’s safe to say that I’ve probably never left the house without wearing perfume. Two sprays on the left wrist, one on the right and two on the neck. That’s my fragrance cadence you could say.

    If memory serves, my journey of scents breaks down like this…

    Exclamation, Ombre and Tea Rose during Middle School
    Liz Claiborne (in the primary colored triangles), Tresor and Poison during High School
    Alfred Sung, Michael Kors and Hanae Mori during College
    Romance during Engagement/Marriage
    Chanel Mademoiselle during Pregnancy
    And finally…Juicy Couture for today.

    Why Juicy for my 30s? Cause I’m a cougar hitting her midlife crisis, in total denial that the scent is targeted towards teens. After two years and two bottles of J, I’m beginning to search for something new. Maybe Marc Jacobs’ Daisy…but the bottle bothers me. That matters too.

    Really wish I could swing by OK Cigars and kick it w/you and Mr. Shin one of these days…

    And, btw, does Oliver Cohen come in a bottle?

    Be Good,


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